The Community Services Programme supports community businesses to provide local services and create employment opportunities for disadvantaged people. It provides funding support to around 425 community companies and co-operatives. It focuses on communities where public and private sector services are lacking, either through geographical or social isolation or because demand levels are not sufficient. The Programme also enables the benefit of other public investment to be realised (as in the case of investment in community centres and resources).
The Community Services Programme evolved from the Social Economy Programme and is managed for the Department of Social Protection by Pobal, a not-for-profit company that manages programmes on behalf of the Irish Government and the EU.
In general, applicants must be not-for-profit social enterprises or community businesses with sufficient capacity to undertake service delivery and the management of staff. They must also have sufficient financial resources and opportunity to generate revenue to maintain the proposed service, and where necessary, prepare a business plan acceptable to the Programme.
There are 3 main types of project funded under the Programme:
In order to qualify for funding under the Community Services Programme, organisations must operate on a not-for-profit basis. They must also recruit unemployed people to work in the projects. In general, 70% of employees in projects funded under the Programme must be from one of the following groups:
Detailed information about the rules and conditions of the Community Services Programme (pdf) is available on the Pobal website.
Access to the Programme is managed by public calls for proposals made by the Department of Social Protection from time to time. Currently (2012) the Programme is not open to new applications.
If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm) or you can visit your local Citizens Information Centre.